Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson, American Idol

Michael Becker/FOX

To be honest, Howard Stern's honesty makes him the ideal replacement for Simon Cowell on American Idol.


But since Stern's never going to find a job that's more perfect for him than the one he's got, he's not going to make it happen. 

And so what? We've come up with five stars who'd be better than Stern in Cowell's chair because they'd be good, and, hey, novel idea, they might take the gig.

1. Harry Connick Jr.: Did you see him on the show this past week? So insulting, so abrasive, so perfect. OK, so, the digs at everybody from gay Ellen DeGeneres to diabetic Crystal Bowersox were gags, but he had the bite to pull 'em off. On Ryan Seacrest's KIIS-FM radio show, the Idol host didn't sound averse to the idea of Connick as judge. And neither did Connick. The crooner said he'd be up for the job as long as "they let [him] wear a wig and have a gavel." 

2. Adam Lambert: Outside of Stern, there's not a pick that would raise more eyebrows—or generate more heat—than this glam alum. If his guest mentor stint on Elvis night was an audition, he passed when he dropped a "boring" on Andrew Garcia. If you wonder if he'd put his burgeoning music career on hold to go Hollywood, then ask yourself what Elvis would have done? (For the answer, see Blue Hawaii—and about 30 other flicks.) 

3. Jamie Foxx: The man's talented, versatile and halfway to an EGOT necklace. Need more? He likes Idol—with next week's scheduled appearance, he'll be a repeat guest mentor. Need more? He told Party Girl's Cristina Gibson he'd "love" Cowell's job. Need more? Tim Urban endorsed him. (OK, we should've stopped when we were ahead.)

4. Nygel Lythgoe: What do you say to the guy who had the British bite to suggest the show's entire judging panel be gutted? "You're hired." And, yes, we know he's busy with So You Think You Can Dance, but as a onetime Idol exec, he's got experience juggling both shows. 

5. Paula Abdul: We miss her. Idol reportedly misses her. And judging by her flirtation with Star Search, she misses her talent-show self, too. There's still time to get her—and the show's mojo—back. Before Cowell steals her away for The X Factor.

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